Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 15:8
AC 1818. Verse 8. And he said, Lord Jehovih, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? "He said, Lord Jehovih," signifies a conversation, as it were, of the Interior man with the Internal; "whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" signifies a temptation against the Lord’s love, which desired to be fully assured.
AC 1819. He said, Lord Jehovih. That this signifies a conversation, as it were, of the Interior man with the Internal, is evident from what was said in the preceding verse in connection with the words, "Jehovah said unto him;" and also from what was said (verse 2) concerning the Lord Jehovih, as denoting the conversation of the Interior man with the Internal, or Jehovah, especially when He was in temptation.
AC 1820. Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? That this signifies a temptation against the Lord‘s love, which desired to be fully assured, may be seen from the doubt that is implied in the words themselves. He who is in temptation is in doubt concerning the end in view. The end in view is the love, against which the evil spirits and evil genii fight, and thereby put the end in doubt; and the greater the love is, the more do they put it in doubt. If the end which is loved were not put in doubt, and indeed in despair, there would be no temptation. Assurance respecting the result precedes the victory, and belongs to the victory.
 As few know how the case is with temptations, it may here be briefly explained. Evil spirits never fight against other things than those which the man loves; the more ardently he loves them, the more fiercely do they wage the combat. It is evil genii who fight against the things that pertain to the affection of good, and evil spirits that fight against those which pertain to the affection of truth. As soon as they notice even the smallest thing which a man loves, or perceive as it were by scent what is delightful and dear to him, they forthwith assault it and endeavor to destroy it, and thereby the whole man, for man’s life consists in his loves. Nothing is more delightful to them than to destroy a man in this way, nor would they desist, even to eternity, unless they were driven away by the Lord. They who are malignant and crafty insinuate themselves into man‘s very loves by flattering them, and thus bring the man among themselves; and presently, when they have brought him in, they attempt to destroy his loves, and thereby murder the man, and this in a thousand ways that cannot be comprehended.
 Nor do they wage the combat simply by reasoning against things good and true, because such combats are of no account, for if they were vanquished a thousand times they would still persist, since reasonings against goods and truths can never be wanting. But they pervert the goods and truths, and inflame with a certain fire of cupidity and of persuasion, so that the man does not know otherwise than that he is in the like cupidity and persuasion; and at the same time they enkindle these with delight that they snatch from the man’s delight in something else, and in this way they most deceitfully infect and infest him; and this they do with so much skill, by leading him on from one thing to another, that if the Lord did not aid him, the man would never know but that the case was really so.
 They act in a similar way against the affections of truth that make the conscience: as soon as they perceive anything of conscience, of whatever kind, then from the falsities and failings in the man they form to themselves an affection; and by means of this they cast a shade over the light of truth, and so pervert it; or they induce anxiety and torture him. They also hold the thought persistently in one thing, and thus fill it with phantasies; and at the same time they clandestinely clothe the cupidities with the phantasies; besides innumerable other arts, which cannot possibly be described to the apprehension. These are a few of the means, and only the most general, by which they can make their way to man‘s conscience, for this above all else they take the great est delight in destroying.
 From these few statements, and they are very few, it may be seen what temptations are, and that they are, in general, such as the loves are, and from this we may see what was the nature of the Lord’s temptations, that they were the most terrible of all, for such as is the greatness of the love, such is the fearful character of the temptation. The Lord‘s love was the salvation of the whole human race, and was most ardent; consequently it was the whole sum of the affection of good and affection of truth in the highest degree. Against these, with the most malignant wiles and venom, all the hells waged the combat; but still the Lord conquered them all by His own power. Victories are attended with the result that the malignant genii and spirits afterwards dare not do anything; for their life consists in their being able to destroy, and when they perceive that a man is of such a character that he can resist, then at the first onset they flee away, as they are wont to do when they draw near to the first entrance to heaven, for they are at once seized with horror and terror, and hurl themselves backward.GENESIS 15:8 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|